Mentorship, a Growth Mindset, Speaking Up, and Asking for Help: My Journey to Leadership

Sponsored by Barclays

Patricia Borges. Photo courtesy of Barclays.

Patricia Borges. Photo courtesy of Barclays.

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Fairygodboss
May 20, 2024 at 7:2PM UTC

How can you grow a career at a leading bank? Well, according to Patricia Borges, a Project Lead in the Corporate Real Estate and Location Strategy team at Barclays, one necessary ingredient is building connections with the people around you.“I strongly attribute my advancement and growth mindset to the many mentors I have had along the way,” says Borges. 

Borges managed to develop such a supportive professional community by changing banks only once in career — joining Barclays in what she calls a “pivotal” move to growing her professional life. “At the time, I had a strong network and sponsors who hired me into Barclays and kept a close mentorship with me to ensure my success and growth in the firm,” she explains.

Mentorship is also an important quality to look for in your manager. In fact, Borges says that, in her experience, the best qualities a manager can have are being empathetic and willing to mentor their direct reports. For instance, her favorite boss was “easy to talk to and let your guard down with,” recalls Borges. “She mentored me for many hours and always employed an open-door policy. She’s a leader who knows that not everyone is the same, and she took the time to get to know me and draw out my strengths. I felt confident under her supervision because I was always in a safe space, which allowed me to step up and manage more effectively.” Growing your career comes down to surrounding yourself with supportive people!

Recently, Borges spoke with Fairygodboss about her journey to leadership, grappling with Imposter Syndrome, her work in the DEI space, and more!

My journey into leadership. 

When asked what the catalyst was for her leadership journey, Borges says that she simply spoke up. “I had just come back from maternity leave and wanted to keep advancing,” Borges recalls. “I went on a mission to get bigger projects and show up confidently at every one-on-one with my manager. I made it clear to her that I was ready, and she told me that she had never seen someone work so hard in her years of managing.”

Putting in the work, speaking up, and being open about her goals also meant that, when Borges eventually took on a leadership role, she truly felt ready. “While stepping into a higher role comes with more complex problems and decision-making, I felt that I had a strong base from the start,” she tells us. 

A part of this base comes from having a supportive manager of her own. “I am an independent worker—always have been,” she says. “My manager understands my needs and gives me the autonomy I need to be creative and manage projects from start to end. She always supports me when I need it.”

Another important aspect of confidently growing into leadership is to have an empowering company culture — and the culture at Barclays has been imperative for Borges to excel during her leadership journey. “The company pushes individuals to achieve excellence,” Borges says. “Barclays talks about drive and challenges employees to be curious and ask challenging questions to ensure that the very best path is followed. I’m lucky to be on a great team that empowers me to do my best every day.”

Overcoming hurdles on my career journey.

Transitioning into a new role or leadership position isn’t always easy — and many women today deal with imposter syndrome during this process. Borges, too, struggles with Imposter Syndrome and feeling that she will never be good enough. “I have received recognition and accolades for the work I do, but each time I struggle with the idea that I could have done more,” she tells us. 

So, how has she addressed this? “Lately, I’ve been trying to break that cycle,” she says, “by recognizing my achievements and taking in praise for my hard work.”

Another hurdle Borges overcame as a leader is asking for help, which she had been struggling to do previously. However, “once I learned the value of asking for help and vocalizing this need, it was really powerful,” she notes. “It allowed others insight into what I was working on, and getting transparency really got me noticed. I learned to speak up and not drown in work that others could take on, which gave me time to think about the road ahead.”

Finding time for my passions.

Do you have something at work that you’d like to be a part of? If so, you should take that leap and pursue your passion! For Borges, that passion is diversity, equity, and inclusion. “I’ve been a long-standing leader in this space,” she tells us. “And while I don’t do this full-time in any capacity, all my roles have included the DEI agenda in some form or another. I’m proud that I get to share the importance of the work on a broader scale and have been part of shaping the culture here in the bank.”



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